The fabulous Joan Collins was welcomed back to the Leicester Square Theatre last night for a week-long residency.
And the 80-year-old star of stage and screen was on top form regaling an audience packed with her fans, plus a few celebs, with stories about her life and loves.
Miss Collins is seriously old-school Hollywood. Immaculately groomed and refusing to accept that make-up adage of ‘less is more’. She may or may not have had any work done. Who cares? She looks age-defying marvellous and must be the envy of every mature woman.
Joan’s entrance dazzled the audience - literally. She was dressed in sequined trousers and slashed sleeved top in the first half and a knockout bling full-length gown in the second which wouldn’t have been out of place in Dynasty. We would have expected nothing less.
But she started her two-hour show, One Night With Joan, with a note of sadness, breaking to the audience the sudden death of 46-year-old Oscar-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman and paying her own tribute.
“It is just such a loss to the profession. He was brilliant in everything he did.”
Then it’s back to the well-rehearsed script that starts with her birth into a show-biz family, her happy childhood, and onto her career.
A lot of the film clips, and her comments are self-deprecating. She’s more than happy to have the audience laugh at some of the dud movies she’s appeared in over the years but, as she says, some of them were so bad that they’ve become collector’s items.
There’s a run through of her marriages, her financial problems, and, of course, her successes. She name drops throughout for this RADA-trained actress and one-time RANK starlet, has worked with the best.
It’s all presented with wit and searing honesty by a stylish and optimistic lady who has refused to be beaten by the Hollywood system (the casting couch was definitely not for her, she declares) or what life has thrown at her.
She talks with a disarming candour. It’s no wonder the audience loves her.
At the end of the show she sits down for a quick Q & A session hosted by her husband and producer, Percy Gibson.
Joan, who was forced to diet by the studio system, admitted to one fan: “I don’t think about my public image. I just do it. All the women in my life, my mother, grandmother, wore make-up and were very well groomed. I love clothes and looking as good as I can.”
She also advised people not to think about the past or future but just to live for the moment and enjoy every second of it”.
The remarkable Miss Collin ends her run at the Leicester Square Theatre on Sunday.
For tickets and info call the box office 08448 733433 or visit www.leicestersquaretheatre.com